I got a call from my friend Paul that he, Carin, and Greg were planning to take Stand Up Paddling lessons at Saluda Lake this past Saturday. I declined the lessons, but said that Laura and I would join them on kayaks. It turned out to be a great day of paddling, of both types.
Laura and I pulled up to the Saluda Landing just as our friends were getting started with their lesson. Under other circumstances we would go to the Pickens side of the lake, where there is a free landing. However, since our friends were here, we paid the launch/parking fees and got our gear squared away.
Other kayakers were also unloading. We decide to go ahead and get on the water, then catch up with the rest of the group later.
There was some light motor boat traffic, but it wasn’t bad. We paddled back and forth a bit until the others were done with their lesson, and were out on the water.
Paul, Carin, and Greg were accompanied by their instructor, Christy. Paul looked like a natural, and was paddling quite well. Carin and Greg were gaining confidence as we paddled along.
We paddled upstream, heading on up the Saluda River. Greg had taken an…interesting approach to paddling his board.
Here’s a short video clip:
Carin and I made it up to Farr’s Bridge first. From that point we turned around and headed back. Laura and Greg were relaxing on back downstream.
With the group all back together we made our way back down the river to the lake. I chatted with Christy a bit along the way. The boards our friends were on were actually rigid inflatable boards. These had high buoyancy, and were more forgiving for beginners. I asked her how far she paddles on one of these boards. She said that on this style she’s gone about 8 miles, which is quite respectable. There is a touring style available, and she had taken those on even longer treks up on Lake Jocassee.
The gang was doing very well. Paul had one little glitch where he looked like he was clogging to Bluegrass on his board. He was able to recover without falling. Greg wasn’t quite as lucky. He took a tumble. Of course, I caught it on video.
The rest of the trip was uneventful. We paddled on back to the landing, even though they had more time available on their board rentals.
Back at Upstate Paddleboards, owner Don had another toy to show off. He had a OneWheel. As the name implies, this is a single wheel, but it also has an electric motor and gyroscope balance.
Here are several video clips of Don demonstrating the device, and Paul and Greg giving it a spin.
A new experience required post-paddling libations. We changed into dryer clothes and met Greg and Carin at their house on Augusta Road, where we walked down to The O5, a new tapas bar. The name is short for 29605. It’s a small place, with more outside seating that inside.
We took a table outside, and started with Moscow Mules served in traditional copper mugs, a departure form my standard martini, but quite refreshing.
We ordered a flatbread pizza with tomatoes and olives, a plate of meats and cheese, and some spinach and artichoke dip. It was all excellent.
As we sat, the place started to fill up. Many were walking in from the neighborhood, as we had done. Nice to have a place from which you could stagger back, if necessary.
So, in all, a great day. For me it was a short kayaking trip, but any day out on the water is a good one. Plus, our friends had a new experience, and we discovered a great new hangout.